The role of a father is constantly evolving, even more than that of the mother. Here are some things you may share with your child’s dad?
Anyone who has read Abraham Lincoln’s letter to his son’s teacher to mould him into a sensitive, responsible, upright and independent person would have got an idea of the caring, stoic, and perfect role model of a father he must have been. Yet, he also gives the impression of being distant and aloof. Today’s dads, at least many of them, strive to be different. It’s not been an easy transition from “father” to “papa”.
Changes triggered by a combination of factors: urbanisation, nuclear families with diffuse gender roles and the emergence of the “sensitive and caring” new-age man, can make today’s dads feel utterly confused by the conflicting demands of their family, job and responsibilities.
A recent study (A C Neilson) in the six metropolises of our country highlights the guilt felt by fathers and that only 12 percent (in Delhi) manage to spend adequate time with their children. Many still take the easy way out by sticking to the traditional role of the father being the provider and disciplinarian. Others become the fun and playful dad without any sense of boundaries and commitments. Still others attempt to usurp the role of the mother by being over-involved and intrusive, often causing confusion and/or conflict in family relationships.
Needless to say
It is best to strike a balance and find one’s own position which is at once dynamic – depending on the needs of your children and the family – and caring. There is no other job that is more rewarding than being able to straddle the competing demands of today’s lifestyle and still remaining involved to see your children grow from close quarters. As a bonus, your children will stand a higher chance of having increased empathy – fewer sex-stereotyped beliefs and more self control, throughout their lives.
For your spouse
1. Research shows that dads who are closely involved with pregnancy, childbirth, and hands-on care in the initial years have more of the caring hormone, “Oxytocin”, in their system. This, no doubt contributes to a deeper sense of attachment and bonding which can last a lifetime. Cuddling, cooing, feeding and changing are all fulfilling if you can overcome the initial resistance.
2. The only way of finding time for your children is to allot +and fix time-out with them. And you must indulge with each child independent of family time. Switch off your mobile phone, get away from colleagues and find a consistent space which is unique between you and him.
3. To overcome the inherent confusion of gender roles in today’s metrosexual world,
it is vital to periodically discuss your responsibilities with your wife. Given the dynamic nature of your family and the constantly changing needs of your children, it becomes important to respond to the changes.
4. However, you must also know where the parental boundaries lie. Be friendly but don’t try to be a friend to your child. Dads who can’t wait for their sons to grow up so that they can share their own adolescent escapades may be heading for trouble. Sharing your childhood stories is important, but you should be able to sense where to draw the line and stop.